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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Bilingual-Quite the advantage (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Christian Illusionist
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Most of us have noticed that, Cyril Takayama is a bilingual magician.

It's obvious how this is such a help for him. It opens him up to an entire different audience than most of us will ever be able to perform for.

It also helps him to connect with an audience in ways Blaine's pointing and grunting never will.

My thought on this one is just this, what an advantage the bilingual magician has to those of us who speak only one.
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
Bill Hallahan
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Being bilingual opens a larger audience to a magician's magic although I think in Cyril's case the biggest help to him is his talent, dedication, and especially his creativity. It's possible he would have been a great magician if he only spoke one language.

Also, in the clips I've seen from Japanese television, he only rarely says much more than a few words in English, typically, "Watch" or "Look." I've also noted that much of his magic is easy to follow and very engaging even with the sound turned down. I wonder if there's a lesson in that?
Humans make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to create boredom. Quite astonishing.
- The character of ‘Death’ in the movie "Hogswatch"
EsnRedshirt
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I remember reading about a certain magician touring in China a long time ago. Where he expected amazement and applauds, there was instead uproarious laughter. It turns out, when he proclaimed something like,
"And now my lovely assistant will step inside the box!"
The translator was saying,
"He says his assistant has stepped into the box, but I can see her crouching behind it..."

Obviously, being bilingual saves you this embarassment... Smile
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Christian Illusionist
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Quote:
On 2006-04-13 18:44, Bill Hallahan wrote:
... I've also noted that much of his magic is easy to follow and very engaging even with the sound turned down. I wonder if there's a lesson in that?


Very true! Wonderful point!

I was told once that Jeff McBride works almost as hard on mime skills and kabuki (I hope that's right) theatre because it allows him to be able to direct attention better without speaking during performance with much music.

This also lets you know when and where hand gestures, waves, ect. are needed and where they're not.

For sometimes, simplicity is best.

I remember watching a magician one time who had the best of everything as far as props were concerned. I was really excited about watching him, because I expected a great performance.
However, when it started, I was so distracted by the constant waving of his hands that it made the tricks dull. It was just too much, it hardly seemed magical at all.

Very good point.
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
Roland Henning
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What kind of question is this? Of course. Speaking more than one language helps you pretty much in every aspect of life. It is not limited to magic.

I thought speaking 3 languages fluently was enough. But here in Europe speaking 5 languages seems to be sufficient, in order to get an international audience. I am currently learning French and Spanish besides magic for that very reason.
Hideo Kato
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Cyril can't be called bilingual. He once admitted to me he was not good at speaking in English. You can learn such words he speaks in an hour or so. When David Copperfield performed in Japan, he spoke several Japanese words effectively. Awkward Japanese by American sounds more amusing than fluent Japanese in a show.

Hideo Kato
C Christian
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I perform in Japan a lot and I do not speak Japanese I do say a word or two but for the most part it really doesn't matter, at least for me, with my close-up act and my stage act.
So it all depends on the situation your in.
Now there was a show that I did in southern CA. that the booker had no idea that it was a spanish speaking audiences. So I walked in and started my show and when I should have gotten my 1st laugh (I got nothing) I stoped and looked at the audience blinked a couple of times and said in Spanish, (I can speak spanish) "Would that joke have been better if I said it in Spanish?" I got a few giggles and so I continued the rest of the show in spanish. The booker was very pleased when they saw that I can speak spanish. So it can be useful but by know means is it a selling point for me. (Maybe it should be hmmmm)
As for Cyril is concern He is great at picking strong visual effects and his demeanor is so smooth and understandable that yes it is something to learn from. I am sure he worked very hard to develope that character.
Hope this helped Cheers Chris
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-04-14 04:44, C Christian wrote:.. I stoped and looked at the audience blinked a couple of times and said in Spanish, (I can speak spanish) "Would that joke have been better if I said it in Spanish?" I got a few giggles and so I continued the rest of the show in spanish. ...


Hurray! Somebody is paying attention to their audience. Bravo!
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Bill Palmer
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I once did a show for an international corporate group. I was told ahead of time that there would be a number of people there who did not understand English, that their primary language was Spanish. These people were the wives/girlfriends of the executives from South America. All the others understood English.

There was no way that I could do my show entirely in Spanish -- there was too much spoken comedy that would not translate at all.

My opener was the vanishing bird cage. I had a friend of mine who worked at Berlitz with me translate the script for the cage into Spanish.

When I was introduced, I started, "Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen, before I start the show, I would like to say that I have learned that some people here do not understand English. So, I will attempt to do this part in another language.

"Guten Abend, meine Damen und Herren..."

This got a big laugh. Then I gave the Spanish version of the bird cage lines, then the English, got a big round of applause, and went into the rest of the act in English only.

The fellows at the tables translated for their ladies.

Since then, I have learned some more phrases in Spanish.

BTW, the most useless first phrase to learn in ANY language is "Where is the bathroom?" If you ask the phrase in a foreign language, you will be answered in a language that you do not understand.

Trust me on this.
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saxmangeoff
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Quote:
On 2006-04-14 13:31, Bill Palmer wrote:
"Guten Abend, meine Damen und Herren..."


Das ist urkomisch!

As for the "bathroom" comment, I agree. Sounding like you know a language only gets you more of that language. I know very little Spanish, but tend to greet those I know who DO speak Spanish with "¡Hola!". Then they often go off with a lengthy reply in Spanish that I don't understand, and I have to explain that I have no idea what they've just said. I need to learn not to do that. Smile

Besides, you don't need to learn how to ask for the bathroom. Crossing your legs and doing a frantic dance is universal for "I've gotta go!"

Geoff


Posted: Apr 14, 2006 5:06pm
-------------------------------------------
Oh, and as for Cyril, based on the web clips I've seen, he could do an act in Swahili and I would be transfixed.

Geoff
"You must practice your material until it becomes boring, then practice it until it becomes beautiful." -- Bill Palmer
RandyStewart
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I'm bilingual but if I spoke a single word during my act, I'd be doing other than what I was paid to do in communicating something entertaining.
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